The Life of an Orphan

By Eric Hamilton, Parent Herald July 02, 11:00 am

(Photo : isakarakus)

Being an orphan can be very tough on anyone, especially at a very young age. Aside from missing a parental connection and nurturing, an orphan's life is far from being typical. Children who don't have parents mostly don't get the opportunity to go to school; they don't have decent shelter, food and clothing unless an orphanage, a foster family or adoptive family will take them in. Staying with relatives doesn't always guarantee that an orphan is out of the hard life. Most of the times, orphans may be treated as unwanted additions to their relatives' households. Outside of the refuge of an orphanage, what's it like to live life as an orphan?

Finding Food is an Ordeal

Children may realize that gone were those days that food was served at their tables to eat or their parents were there to provide them food. Orphans may start out receiving dole outs from concerned neighbors or households, but eventually, the giving spirit ceases. They will then start to go places to beg for food and find that eating sufficiently and on time becomes very hard to do. Foraging in garbage bins and dumps becomes a regular backup plan when begging doesn't give them enough food or money to buy food.

Finding Shelter Becomes a Challenge

With the comfort of having a roof over one's head gone, orphans can be found wandering the streets and establishments for most of the day. When the time for sleep comes at night, orphaned children are forced to be creative in making makeshift beds and huts to keep themselves a bit warm and comfortable while sleeping. However, most of these children are exposed to harsh elements: extreme temperatures, traffic accidents and exploitation. These are the kinds of dangers orphans face without genuinely concerned individuals or organizations looking out for them.

Staying in orphanages is just the first step to protecting and nurturing orphans. Children still need to study and be guided by responsible and caring adults in order to grow as self-reliant adults and productive members of society. Non-government organizations like Beyond the Orphanage from, for instance, that look after the welfare of orphaned children can provide these necessary care extensions.

Access to Education Becomes Difficult

Education is a key foundation for the future of children. For orphans, access to education becomes impossible to non-existent. Child welfare organizations and foster care programs can provide this necessity for orphans. They can work in coordination with orphanages as extensions and can also work independently to provide an extensive scope of service to more children outside orphanages that are facing risks of being endangered. Being in school can help build up the confidence of orphans and have them regain the sense of security and acceptance in society.

If children with parents complain about how difficult their lives and upbringing are, most likely they haven't known the life orphans lead. Orphans deserve continued care and nurturing until they are of age to support themselves and become productive members of society. Thus, as fortunate as we consider ourselves to be, we should also show our concern and care for orphans in any way we can. There are several channels of support for orphans that are available. We need to be vigilant and careful in choosing organizations or channels so that the assistance we offer can be fully utilized for the welfare of orphans.

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